Another strong European contingent in Breeders’ Cup
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Golden Horn heads another strong contingent of European horses in the Breeders’ Cup this weekend at Keeneland.
Foreign-based runners have won 10 times in the last three Cups, all held at Santa Anita in California. Keeneland hosts the two-day championships for the first time starting Friday.
The leading horse in Europe, Golden Horn, is the early 4-5 favorite in the $3 million Turf on Saturday.
The 3-year-colt arrives with impressive credentials, having already won the Irish Champion Stakes, the Epsom Derby and the Prix de’l Arc de Triomphe earlier this month.
The winner of 7-of-8 starts will try to become the first horse to capture the Arc and a Breeders’ Cup race in the same year. So far, six have tried and failed.
Golden Horn breaks from the rail in the 1 1-2-mile race with Frankie Dettori, an 11-time Cup winner, aboard for trainer John Gosden in the colt’s final start.
He will head off to stud duty in fine form, according to Gosden.
”He probably has the most remarkable constitution of any horse I have trained,” Gosden said. ”He shipped here weighing two kilograms more than he did when he flew to Paris to the Arc, and he put the weight back on very quickly when he got home from his exertions in the Arc.
”He has grown physically in the course of his 3-year-old year and matured. Ideally, I would like to be coming to a race like this with a 4-year-old or a 5-year-old, but he’s retiring and going to stud, so this is our only shot at it.”
Gleneagles will represent Europe in the $5 million Classic, North America’s richest race.
He is a 20-1 outsider for his first start on dirt despite finishing a flashy 7 for 10 against top-level turf competition.
Most of the wagering in that race will gravitate to another 3-year-old – Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
”He is a real champion and a real star, but whether or not he will adapt to this surface we will just have to see,” Gleneagles’ co-owner Michael Tabor said.
Ryan Moore will ride for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Other top European contenders are: Legatissimo (8-5) in the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf; Make Believe (3-1), Esoterique (7-2) and defending champion Karakontie (12-1) in the $2 million Mile; Cymric (7-2) and Hit It a Bomb (9-2) in the $1 million Juvenile Turf; and Illuminate (9-2) in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf.